GALVESTON, Texas (June 1, 2013) – A simple nudge from her caring father in the early stages of her high school studies was all it took to steer Nigerian native Tosin Sekoni, a regulatory specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, into a life-long career in science.
“My chemistry teacher in high school, the best teacher in the world, made me fall in love with chemistry,” said Sekoni. “A few years later, I was admitted into the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to study wildlife and fisheries sciences. During my sophomore years, I took an introductory course in wildlife ecology and bingo, that was it! I became fascinated with wild animals and their habitats and knew that I wanted to use my entire career protecting and conserving them.
As a regulatory specialist, Sekoni primarily works to regulate the discharge of dredged and fill material into waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and any work within the navigable waters pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Managing a diverse pool of projects ranging from overseeing levee construction and repairs to shoreline stabilization and ecosystem restoration to ensure that there is no net loss of aquatic resources and no adverse impacts to protected species, requires Sekoni to remain actively engaged with the community.
“Right now I am overseeing a project to construct a metal recycling facility where Buffalo Bayou intersects the Houston Ship Channel,” said Sekoni. “I am overseeing a project involving 33 acres of marsh restoration in Cameron Parish, La., and am also managing a housing subdivision project involving the discharge of fill material into wetlands and open waters along Spring Creek, in The Woodlands, Texas.”
With such a diverse range of duties, Sekoni says that it takes a dedicated team consisting of an archeologist, design engineer, marine and wildlife biologists, wetland scientists and environmental specialists to produce a well reasoned, enforceable and defensible permit that will not adversely impact the nation’s waters.
“Our work is making a difference because, everything we do helps to maintain the integrity of the rivers, lakes, estuaries, gulf and all water bodies within the Gulf Coast,” said Sekoni. “It’s the positive ripple effect of a team effort that keeps these waterways navigable.”
With a position that requires her to be able to lead multidisciplinary groups to achieve a common goal, Sekoni has masterfully translated that skill into the classroom and actively engage with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students to encourage them to follow in her footsteps to become the next generation of scientists.
“It’s important to me to start building a pool of future generation scientists and engineers,” Sekoni said. “The Corps in the Classroom program enables me to interact one-on-one with students to answer questions about my profession and introduce students to women and minority professionals working in STEM-related occupations.”
An employee of six years and former Army Soldier, Sekoni remains busy wrapping up a Ph.D. program in Ecology at Texas A & M University while raising two children. In her free time she enjoys biking with her children, playing the piano and engaging in her new found passion - dancing.
Learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Corps in the Classroom Program at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/PublicAffairsOffice/CorpsintheClassroom.aspx. Visit http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/About/Partners/PrairieViewAMUniversity.aspx to learn about the partnership with PVAMU, find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.